Posted by & filed under Crypto currency.

A single bitcoin transaction uses more energy than a Canadian home for a month, one expert is estimating.

Bitcoin miners will guzzle more electricity this year than some countries do, according to new numbers from a leading researcher. And while some critics take issue with these figures, few disagree that the digital currency’s energy use is a problem that’s only getting bigger.

Economist Alex de Vries studies bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which were invented in 2008 by an anonymous computer programmer. Bitcoin allows people to buy and sell things directly from each other without the use of intermediaries, like banks or currencies controlled and manipulated by governments.

Source: CBC News

Date: May 22nd, 2018

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/bitcoin-electricity-1.4668768

Discussion

1) Do you understand what is being done during cryptomining?  Do some research to find out what it means.

2) Why does cryptomining use so much electricity?

Posted by & filed under Biomimicry.

SoFi isn’t like other fish, but they don’t seem to notice.

Pale and plump with a tail that swishes side-to-side, the one-eyed robotic fish was built by scientists at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).

It is designed to swim naturally alongside other fish in open water and spy on them without raising suspicions or disturbing their natural habitat.

The un-tethered robot can use its camera to record behaviors of anything from sharks and whales to schools of tiny damselfish.

Source: CNN Technology News

Date: May 22nd, 2018

Link: http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/21/technology/mit-fish-robot/index.html

Discussion

1) How might you put SoFi to other applications underwater?

2) This is an example of biomimicry, where scientists copy nature.  Do you know of any other examples of biomimicry?

Posted by & filed under Emerging Technologies.

Red Hydrogen One

AT&T and Verizon announced this week they will start selling a holographic smartphone later this year. The Red Hydrogen One smartphone is the first phone from video equipment company Red.

The Android phone’s killer feature is a “holographic display” that projects 3D images that can be viewed without special glasses. You will be able to view the images from the sides and behind, and interact with them using special hand gestures. It will also include cameras for capturing the custom 3D images.

Source: CNN Technology

Date: May 22nd, 2018

Link: http://money.cnn.com/2018/05/18/technology/holographic-phone-red-hydrogen-one-release/index.html

Discussion

1) Is 3D holography a “killer app”?

2) For what sorts of things might 3D holography be really useful?

Posted by & filed under Amazon, Civil Liberties.

Amazon.com Inc. drew the ire of the American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday over a facial-recognition system offered to law-enforcement agencies that the advocacy group says can be used to violate civil rights.

In marketing materials obtained by the group, Amazon Web Services said its Rekognition system uses artificial intelligence to quickly identify people in photos and videos, enabling law enforcement to track individuals.

“Amazon’s Rekognition raises profound civil liberties and civil rights concerns,” the group said in a statement. “Today, the ACLU and a coalition of civil rights organizations demanded that Amazon stop allowing governments to use Rekognition.”

Source: Bloomberg Technology News

Date: May 22nd, 2018

Link: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-22/amazon-criticized-by-civil-rights-group-over-facial-recognition

Discussion

1) Does Amazon have a duty to protect individuals privacy for every piece of software it develops and sells?

2) What sorts of services could you sell using Amazon’s Rekognition system platform?

Posted by & filed under App Economy.

A Toronto–based app connecting restaurants and bars to temporary workers will soon be expanding to the city’s retail market, adding a new dimension to the growing gig economy  — and raising questions about how to protect the workers who depend on it.

Hyr launched in February 2017. About 300 Toronto restaurants now use it and more than 5,000 workers have also logged on.

“We’ve grown exponentially,” said the app’s co-founder, Erika Mozes. “The first demand for it really came from workers because … this new economy and the way that people want to be able to make money when they want to make money.”

Source: CBC News

Date: May 16th, 2018

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/hyr-app-toronto-1.4662620

Discussion

1) “We’re kind of the Airbnb for hourly paid work.”  What is meant by this statement?

2) Would this sort of app work in your town or city?  How would you roll it out?

Posted by & filed under Careers, Tesla.

Two young students from Newfoundland made such a good impression on Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk during a recent internship that the tech magnate personally hired them to come work for his company.

Mark Comeau and Matthew Lane both studied engineering at CNA and MUN, and landed work placements at Tesla, which makes electric vehicles, battery packs and solar panels.

After about a month moving back and forth between the Tesla Factory in California and the company’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada, the two finally saw an opportunity to do something they weren’t necessarily assigned to be involved with, but which started them down the path to working with the company.

Source: CBC News

Date: May 16th, 2018

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/elon-musk-tesla-newfoundland-interns-hired-1.4663270

Discussion

1) What set these two apart and impressed Elon Musk so much?

2) What is about Tesla that makes it such a good technology company?

Posted by & filed under Amazon, IT and Politics.

It was, as the local public radio station said, the day “Seattle Nice” died. On May 2, the residents of Seattle were hit with a one-two punch. For months, the city council had been debating a new tax on large employers to raise $75 million for new affordable housing and services for the homeless, whose growing population had burst out of shelters and into tents around the city.

In the late morning, just before a council hearing, a columnist for the Seattle Times broke the news that Amazon.com Inc., the city’s largest employer, was playing hardball. The typically hermetic company said it paused expansion plans for buildings that would house about 7,000 employees pending the outcome of the upcoming tax vote.

Source: Bloomberg Technology News

Date: May 16th, 2018

Link: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-15/behind-seattle-s-amazon-tax-seething-tensions-livid-neighbors-and-rising-rents

Discussion

1) “each new tech job creates four to five non-tech jobs over the next decade.”  Why do tech jobs help the economy so much?

2) Does it make sense to levy an additional tax on tech companies that create so many jobs?

Posted by & filed under App Economy.

“I open the app on my phone and scan the camera across the busy London street. Like in Pokémon Go, I’m looking at the scene in front of me through my phone, and bubbles are popping up in real-time.

But these aren’t Pikachu or Poké Balls – they’re single, attractive strangers who are using the same augmented reality app as I am. Their faces are circled on my screen as I pass them physically in the street.”

Source: BBC Technology Insights

Date: May 16th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/d342e05c-58a4-493d-92c7-c77bbc872ab5

Discussion

1) What might be the ethical issue of using or deploying this sort of app?

2) How might you use this sort of technology more usefully than just for dating?

Posted by & filed under Artificial intelligence, Augmented Reality, Automation.

Google recently announced Google Duplex, a new technology for conducting natural conversations to carry out “real world” tasks over the phone. The technology is directed towards completing specific tasks, such as scheduling certain types of appointments. For such tasks, the system makes the conversational experience as natural as possible, allowing people to speak normally, like they would to another person, without having to adapt to a machine.

One of the key research insights was to constrain Duplex to closed domains, which are narrow enough to explore extensively. Duplex can only carry out natural conversations after being deeply trained in such domains. It cannot carry out general conversations.

Source: Google AI

Date: May 16th, 2018

Link: https://ai.googleblog.com/2018/05/duplex-ai-system-for-natural-conversation.html

Discussion

1) Listen to both of the Google AI calls right at the top of this post.  Discuss how amazing it is that you really can’t tell this is a computer making the call.

2) Google is clear to make sure that people know that this is a “closed domain”.  What does that mean?  How “closed” is the call to the restaurant where the person at the restaurant does not follow what the call is about almost at all.

Posted by & filed under App Economy, Consumer Technology.

Bike-sharing bikes in Shanghai

Cycling around cities may have been pioneered by the Dutch, but a new high-tech way of hiring bicycles is bidding to bring a pedal power revolution to cities around the world.

The key innovation is the dockless hire bike. Found and unlocked with a few taps on a smartphone, they can be hired for an hour, day, or week – then locked up and left wherever the journey ends, rather than a special docking area.

These now make up the majority of the 18 million self-serve, public-use bikes around the world, in 1,608 cities.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: May 16th, 2018

Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-44066083

Discussion

1) Is this something you could introduced at your university, and what considerations would you need to make it happen?

2) What other things could be loaned using this system?